AUGUST 2015: NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH
Well here we are--another month has passed-- a new topic to discuss!!
When we see or hear the word "immunizations", we usually think of infants and school age children. But immunizations are for people of all ages--even us 'older adults'.
Older adults need to get certain vaccines to protect their health and prevent serious diseases.
SHINGLES: At the age of 60 and older, you need to get a vaccine to prevent shingles. Shingles is a painful rash, often with blisters. The vaccine reduces the risk of shingles by 50%. A single, one time dose of the shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years of age and older.
PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE: At the age of 65 or older, you need to get a pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease which includes pneumonia, meningitis and certain blood infections. Adults with certain medical conditions may receive a pneumonia vaccine earlier than the age of 65. Your physician would inform you of this need.
INFLUENZA VACCINE (FLU VACCINE): All adults should get a flu vaccine every year. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. The flu spreads easily from person to person. When you get the flu vaccine, you don't just protect yourself, you also protect everyone around you.
Tdap and Td VACCINES: The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis). Us adults age 60 and older may not be as familiar with the Tdap vaccine. We are more familiar with the Td vaccine (tetanus and diphtheria). Pertussis (whooping cough) was practically eradicated by the 1970's. It started to re-emerge about 40 years later (2000's). The Tdap vaccine entered the scene in hopes of eradicating pertussis again. Everyone needs to get the Tdap vaccine once. After a dose of the Tdap--booster dose of Td should be given every 10 years.
**There are always side effects, risks and contraindications with vaccines. One should discuss the pros and cons with your physician to make an informed decision on what is best for you!**